FARC

New peace accord with FARC to be signed in November 2016

El Colombiano reported on 20 November 2016 that the signing of the new peace deal with the FARC rebels could take place in Bogotá on 22 or 23 November. According to President Juan Manuel Santos, the accord will first have to be reviewed by Congress, which will decide what path will be chosen to approve the new deal (El Tiempo). FARC Commander-in-Chief Timoleón "Timochenko" Jiménez told news agency RCN Radio on 20 November that he will be traveling to Bogotá to sign the accord. 

Shootout leaves two FARC soldiers dead

A clash between the Colombian Army and the 37th front of the FARC, left two FARC combatants dead (RCN, 16 November 2016). The firefight took place in the Santa Rosa municipality in the southern region of the Bolivar department, only 68 km from a previous concentration zone used during the 2016 failed peace attempt (Espectador). After the battle, government forces found three firearms, ammunition, a grenade launcher, and a communications radio. In light of the incident, Humberto de la Calle remarked that the cease fire is fragile and the peace process can not afford to be delayed (Espectador). 

Colombia reaches new peace deal with FARC rebels

On 13 November 2016, lead government negotiator, Humberto de la Calle, announced that after nearly two months of negotiations, the peace deal with FARC has once again reached an agreement. While the official document is yet to be released (El Pais), local news agencies El Pais and El Tiempo have reported some of the changes. In total, 56 of the 57 changes proposed by the "No" campaign had an impact over the re-negotiations. For example, the new agreement more strictly defines the zones to which the guerrillas will be restricted as a alternative to jail, the limitation of political participation by former FARC members, the denial of FARC participation in the Protection and Security Commission, and the removal of foreign judges in the penal process.

 

Colombia moves forward on the revamping the peace accord

The Colombian Government and FARC rebels began a second attempt at constructing a peace deal on 22 October 2016. The negotiations are set to continue in Havana, Cuba as prominent government figures such as lead negotiator Humberto de la Calle, Interior Minister Juan Fernando Cristo, Post Conflict Chief Advisor Rafael Pardo, and Senator Roy Barreras return to the negotiating table (El Espectador). Peace talks have began under the shadow of Álvaro Uribe's 26 page document dictating what he feels should be changed in the accord. El Tiempo reported President Juan Manuel Santos saying that of Uribe's suggested changes, some are reasonable, some are difficult, but not impossible, and some are totally unfeasible, as they do not correspond with the reality of the conflict (El Tiempo). Sub Director of the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation Ariel Ávila insisted the final accord should be ready by the end of 2016. The problem remains what judicial process would be most appropriate to implement the second peace deal, another referendum vote, executive action, or some other developing option (RCN).

The reassembly of negotiators in Havana after the failed 2 October referendum is an undeniably positive step forward for Colombia. Former President Uribe's suggestions are surely going to be the main topic of discussion, as both sides attempt to reach an agreement that satisfies the government, the FARC, and those who voted "no" in the plebiscite. Even if all actors can agree to a new deal before the cease fire ends on 31 December, they still face another real problem, what judicial path will they chose to implement the accords. The question remains whether the government is willing to risk a second peace deal to a referendum vote, a vote that could be sabotaged by a number of actors. Even with a high level of uncertainty clouding the current process, the fact Colombia and its rebels have not given up on a peace process shows the country is transitioning towards what is in all likelihood an inevitable peace.